Defending champ Ferrier riding a wave of optimism

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BABERTON’S Paul Ferrier defends the East of Scotland Open title this weekend hoping to keep feeding off “good vibes”.

The 23-year-old golfer is riding on the crest of a wave after two outstanding performances back-to-back since returning home after finishing at college in America. He picked up a bronze medal in the Amateur Championship at Troon then came through regional qualifying for The Open at Goswick.

Now he’s looking forward to defending a title he won by five shots at Lundin last year after closing with a brace of 66s on the line in Fife.

“It’s a long time since I went into an event as the defending champion so it will be fun,” said Ferrier of an event that is being sponsored for a second year by Golf in Dubai. “I’m feeling good and hopefully I can keep feeding off the good vibes.”

Ferrier beat local hero James White into second place 12 months ago and also left the likes of third-placed Graeme Robertson and Brian Soutar, joint-fourth, trailing in his wake. White and Soutar are missing from this weekend’s line-up as they are playing in the Brabazon Trophy at Walton Heath.

Robertson, winner of the Craigmillar Park Open earlier in the year, is representing Europe in the Palmer Cup at Royal County Down so is also an absentee. However, the East Open organising committee’s efforts have paid off and, to augment the otherwise strong Scottish contingent, the event has attracted many overseas entrants and also players from England and Ireland.

They include New Zealanders Sam Davis and Craig Hamilton, Ireland’s Jack Hume and Austrian Benjamin Weilguni.

In addition to Ferrier, Ronnie Clark (Erskine) and Craig Watson (East Renfrewshire) are other past champions in the field, which also includes two former Scottish champions in Graham Gordon (Newmachar) and Glenn Campbell (Blairgowrie).

Kingsknowe’s Allyn Dick will have his sights set on adding to his collection of SGU Order of Merit titles as he joins Ferrier the Lothians cotingent which also includes Dunbar’s Zander Culverwell, rising Liberton star Anthony Blaney, Craigielaw’s Ross Noon, Mark Dickson from Mortonhall, West Linton’s Fraser Thain and Neil Henderson (Glen). Craig Howie (Peebles) and Ewan Scott, this year’s Scottish boys’ and youths’ champions, also play.